Elvis Starred in 31 Films – Are People Forgetting His Role in Hollywood?

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature
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Elvis Presley has long been regarded as one of the most significant culture icons of all time, thanks to his contribution to and incredible impact on the music industry. The King is the second best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, according to Business Insider, with 146.7 million units, and along with being renowned for rock and roll was also hugely successful in a number of other genres including blues and country.
Because Elvis is mainly remembered for his influential music, many people may forget that he was also a prominent actor in Hollywood. The King starred in 31 films in total, and there are some seriously memorable outings in his collection.
The King Lives On
Few would argue that the memory of Elvis is still going strong in mainstream culture. Since his death in 1977, there have been 69 remixed or re-released songs from the Elvis catalogue. There was a particular resurgence in popularity during the noughties, after the remix of A Little Less Conversation by Junkie XL for the 2002 World Cup went on to become a number 1 hit in over 20 countries.
While Elvis’s last film was the concert documentary Elvis on Tour in 1972, the King has appeared or been referenced in many, many other films since then. In Quentin Tarantino’s epic crime film Pulp Fiction in 1994, there was an Elvis impersonator performing in Jack Rabbit Slim’s. More recently, in Blade Runner 2049, Ryan Gosling stumbles upon a hologram of Elvis performing Suspicious Minds in Las Vegas. In fact, the scene in this futuristic vision of Sin City has been described by Betway as one of the best gambling moments in cinema history. Another great Elvis reference was in 1993’s True Romance from Tony Scott, which is the 83rd greatest film of all time according to a list compiled by Empire in 2017. In the picture which was written by Tarantino, Christian Slater’s character Clarence Worley is obsessed with Elvis and has visions of the music legend. Some conspiracy theorists even believe the King has made posthumous appearances in certain films. For instance, some say that Elvis was a background figure in the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone. The King is in the background when Kate (played by Catherine O’Hara) is checking in for her flight, according to the theory as described in a post on Vice. It’s clear that many are still hanging on to the memory of the rock and roll legend.
Elvis’s Greatest Hollywood Moments
For those who love Elvis’s music but aren’t as familiar with his films, there are some classics that are simply unmissable. It was after the star’s stint in the army between 1958 and 1960 that he decided to return and focus on film. For a good few years, Elvis was a posterboy for Hollywood, and his manager Colonel Tom Parker was trying to push the star into as many movies as possible. Because the King was such a recognizable figure who could easily sell films, the production companies churned them out in quick succession in the early 1960s. By the end of 1963, Elvis had already starred in eight movies, and another eighteen by the end of the decade. While a lot of these features followed a simple music comedy formula, there are some that have gone down in history.
One of the best loved Elvis films is also one of his earliest silver screen outings. 1958 picture King Creole from director Michael Curtiz was praised by critics and also successful at the box office. The King himself went on to later say that the role he played of Danny Fisher was his favourite ever. The 1964 musical Viva Las Vegas from George Sidney is also considered to be up there with Elvis’s best. It was the 14th-highest grossing film of the year and is noted for the sensational on screen chemistry between Elvis and his co-star Ann-Margret.
Elvis’s role in Hollywood didn’t just provide a range of great films to look back on. The fact that he made the transition from music to film has paved the way for many more stars over the years to follow suit. Some of the most notable musicians to have made the switch to film include Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, and Eminem.
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